Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Caleb Colley

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Profane And Vain Babbling—Part Three
   
(Are you lying on facebook? The following article gives us pause to reflect on our social network pages and the integrity with which we post information about ourselves and others. CC)
   
Lying. The “empty talk” of 2 Timothy 2:16 definitely includes those words that have no basis in truth—they’re empty.i Empty words are, by their very nature, deceptive: “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:6-7). 
“There’s nothing wrong with a little white lie.” If you want to read about a sin that God has thoroughly, repeatedly condemned in Scripture, try studying about lying. The Mosaic law was very specific: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). Of the evil, mighty man, the psalmist wrote: “Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness” (Psalm 52:2-3). “Whoever is a partner with a thief…. swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing” (Proverb 29:24). The apostle Paul strongly emphasized honesty: “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25, emp. added). “But we urge you…that you may walk properly (“honestly,” KJV) toward those who are outside” (1 Thessalonians 4:12). “But we know that the law is…for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…” (1 Timothy 1:8,9-10, emp. added). John perfectly summarized New Testament teaching on the subject: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8, emp. added; cf. Psalm 10:7; 55:9-11). Lying is sinful. A little lying is sinful. We must avoid it entirely.
A person may speak a lie, but he also may communicate falsehoods in other ways. I am troubled by the amount of lying that Christian teens do when they post information on-line. Lying? Absolutely. Often, on personal pages such as www.facebook.com and www.MySpace.com Christian teens post their religious preference (“Christian” is a typical entry). Then, they proceed to represent themselves as being anything but Christians. Many young men I know seem to think that language they never would speak to my face, or pictures they would never leave sitting on the youth minister’s desk, is justified if it’s typed electronically and posted where no elders, preachers, or other “old” people ever will see it. Do Christian teenage girls think they communicate the authenticity of true religion when they post pictures of themselves or others wearing very little clothing? What are these teens thinking? They’re telling the world, “World, here’s what Christianity looks like,” and presenting an extremely skewed picture—a false picture, in fact (the same principle that forbids ungodly talk applies to all communication).
    If this misappropriation of God’s word doesn’t constitute profane and vain babblings, I’m at a profound loss as to what might fit Paul’s description. Here’s what one Christian woman wrote soon after creating her Facebook page:

I am sad because some beautiful Christian girls have posted photos of themselves in revealing clothes or swimsuits for hundreds of people to see. Many times these photos are on the same page in which she tells everyone that she is a Christian or that her favorite book is the Bible. Sometimes I am sad because a young guy has posted photos of himself at a drinking party or a bar. Sometimes I am sad because of the vulgar language that I read on pages belonging to people who say they are His. It made me sad recently to read about a friend’s favorite movies and television shows. Most of them were shows that should have been offensive to people of God. Looking at tattoos on body parts that should never be shown in public or reading quotes containing sexual innuendo is sad to me.ii

Bottom line: Our responsibility to uphold truth and avoid empty talk extends beyond the church facility’s walls into Facebook, MySpace, and the rest of cyberspace.iii It certainly is not wrong to participate in on-line communication—I have a Facebook account myself—but we must not pervert blessing of electronic communication and damn our souls.
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i Spain, Carl (1970), The Letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus (Austin, TX: R.B. Sweet). p. 130.
ii Colley, Cindy (2006), “Facebook and Christ,” Facebook note, [On-line], URL: http://fhu.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=2213737380&id=502291383&ref=share.
iii Colley, Caleb (2006), GUARD: Guys Understanding Authority and Real Discipleship (Montgomery, AL: Colley Publications). p. 102.
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